PINEVILLE — One Democrat has thrown his proverbial hat in the ring to challenge Rep. Dan Bishop for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
Immigrant Ram Mammadov announced in a press release Tuesday that he would be seeking the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 election.
According to the press release, Mammadov — who comes from a family of Holocaust surviors — was raised in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea, bordered by Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Russia.
Mammadov moved to the U.S. at the age of 20, just weeks after 9-11, working his way through community college as a janitor, dishwasher and baker, according to the release. He later graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Political Science and International Relations.
He moved to North Carolina 15 years ago and is married with two children in public school, the release states.
To run for Congress, a candidate must be at least 25 years old, be a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and be a resident of the state — but not necessarily the district — they plan to represent.
“To me, it is personal to keep democracy and the American dream alive,” Mammadov said. I have seen the critical needs of good hardworking people in our state — especially District 9— be ignored over and over. We are at a critical crossroads: Will we act to create a vibrant future or retreat into fear and stagnation?”
The 9th District stretches along the South Carolina border and includes Union, Anson, Scotland and Robeson counties and parts of Bladen and Mecklenburg counties.
“District 9 can no longer afford the incumbent’s inaction,” Mammadov said. “We need to strengthen public education, infrastructure, economic opportunities in rural areas, women’s rights, voters’ rights, opioid treatment, veterans’ services; provide lower cost comprehensive healthcare and a strong safety net.
“I am a no nonsense troubleshooter by nature,” he continued. “I will provide the democratic leadership that District 9 has been lacking for 58 years. We can do better. We will do better!”
Bishop, who was recently named the most conservative member of Congress, was voted into the seat in a September 2019 special election, defeating challenges from the Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties.
To get the nomination to run in that election, the former state legislator came out on top in a Republican primary out of a field of 10 candidates with 47% of the vote.
The special election was called following an evidentiary hearing by the N.C. State Board of Elections regarding allegations of election fraud in Bladen County by Leslie McCrae Dowless, who was hired by the campaign for Republican candidate Mark Harris.
Dowless and several others were criminally charged.
The seat was vacant for most of that year after former Rep. Robert Pittenger, who lost the previous year’s Republican primary to Harris, left office.